Lustgarten Poetry Contest First Prize Poem
Poem submitted by Stacey Lawrence of South Orange, New Jersey

That first night
we sleep side by side
on a soft grey couch
television on
background noise
to distract us
Sweating, I wake
midway through a
dark night
to static and panic
I press bare knees
to my chest then
tiptoe to the kitchen
grab a bottle
uncork and sniff
search for a glass
and pour, hands shaking
dry floral hues tickle
my throat as I lean
on the cluttered counter
and try to ignore
that he suffers
in the next room
Aimless. I saunter
barefoot on linoleum
reading recipe cards
I yank open
 a drawer and stack
 pens in piles
the spice rack
Anise, Basil, Cloves
I scrub a burnt pot
until my fingers are raw
and take another gulp
The rooms are
hazy and quiet
But for a fizzle of
late night talking heads
saying nothing
I hang on anyway
to every useless word
Stacey Lawrence
Stacey Lawrence teaches poetry and creative writing in New Jersey. She is a recipient of a fellowship at the Frost Place. Her works can be found in Exit Strata, TWC, and Raven's Perch.

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